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U.S. congresswoman chides China for blocking Taiwan from WHA
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Washington, May 6 (CNA) A U.S. congresswoman on Friday called China's obstruction of Taiwan's participation in International organizations "dangerous and shortsighted."

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, U.S. congresswoman and former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has called for support for Taiwan's bid to take part in the World Health Assembly (WHA) scheduled for later this month.

In a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price dated May 5, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen requested Price's assistance in "ensuring that Taiwan receives an invitation from WHO to join this month's WHA."

She also encouraged Tom "to visit Taiwan in the near future to discuss opportunities to collaborate, to our mutual benefit, on public health protection measures."

Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO) threatens the international community's full access to Taiwan's high quality health care information, she wrote.

Due to its superb talent, data collection, and quarantine and treatment facilities, Taiwan has excellent infectious disease control capabilities. Its valuable information and cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was crucial in stemming the spread of SARS 14 years ago, she continued..

Taiwan's cooperation with the WHO is crucial to helping global health services effectively battle these and other disease, she wrote.

"As was the case with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last year, it is likely that Taiwan will be blocked from receiving an invitation to the WHA summit. In a dangerous and shortsighted effort to constrain Taiwan, China hinders Taiwan's participation in many international organizations, including ICAO, WHO, and INTERPOL," she wrote.

"Taiwan's meaningful participation in WHO is not only in the interest of Taiwan but is of critical importance to our own health care system and capability of fighting infectious diseases."

The WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), is scheduled to hold its latest session in Geneva from May 22 to May 31.

Taiwan first attended the WHA as an observer in 2009, a year after the government of former President Ma Ying-jeou came to power and pursued a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing. Since then, Taipei has sent a delegation to Geneva every year but has not yet received an invitation to the upcoming meeting.

There are concerns that Beijing might try to block Taiwan's invitation to the WHA this year, in light of increasingly strained cross-strait relations since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016.